Things have been quiet on the workout front. Not so much quiet as inconsistent. No pizzazz. No big goals.
School and work pretty much consumed my life from the IMS relay until May. Once I finally got through finals, I had sickness followed by more sickness, PT Observation hours, GRE testing, and overall exhaustion. One thing that suffered, and not for lack of trying, was exercise. I was still getting in a run every week or so, and the occasional gym workout. The only thing I have been consistently doing has been Bikram yoga on Friday mornings. But that just wasn't enough.
The heat hasn't helped. Being 110 degrees and adding humidity to that isn't exactly motivating. I can't just "go for a run" if I haven't hydrated enough to not be that girl who ends up on the news. But the heat isn't an excuse. I have also realized that I have done so much training with other people that I tend to give myself the night off when they are not available. Only you can be accountable for yourself, and doing something small is better than doing nothing at all. What I needed was something to strive for.
I have always over-scheduled myself, so I have been working to cut some things back. I dropped down to 1 summer school class (Chemistry + lab), 3 science classes in the fall (2 bio and 1 physics, + labs), and dropped work down to 3 days (occasionally 4) instead of 4-5. I stopped working at the Bikram studio on Friday mornings so that yoga would be a fun thing again, instead of another commitment on my calendar. Overall, I am on track for more "me" time. This leaves 3 nights of time to myself that can be dedicated to working out or laziness, whatever I feel like. This gives me Sundays completely off for a day that I owe nothing to anyone. I'm pretty happy with this.
I really enjoy Matt Frazier's "No Meat Athlete" blog, and he recently made a post about How to Enjoy Running. I enjoy running to some extent, but what I really enjoy is "training." Having the goal to focus on, and a dedicated schedule over a set amount of time seems to work for me! I tend to focus more on regular workouts, healthy eating habits, dedicated hours of sleep, and lots of water - all more successfully than I do when I'm in "off-season." But, I do not to train year-round, because that would make something I enjoy doing more like work. The caveat to all this is that I am not a "natural runner" so I sometimes have really tough days. Running solo for long periods of time does not yet come naturally to me, partially because I have been so dependent on having someone there to talk to. I bore easily on a treadmill (and often find I am more susceptible to injury), and getting up super early in the heat to run alone sometimes is hard to convince myself to do when I'm half asleep and comfortable in bed. Recently I have started to do it more. Even if it means I don't go as far, at least I did it, right? What's sad is I actually love starting my day off with exercise, a run especially. I feel like I just did something really amazing for myself, and it sets the tone for my entire day. My bed is just very convincing at 4 or 5 in the morning. :)
Back to the blog. Reading Matt's blog always rejuvenates me, because even though he has run many marathons and qualified for Boston, and recently run over 100 miles in a single race, he admits to not always loving it, to needing a goal, and to having hard days. It makes me feel better, because ultimately, I would like to run more, and I would like it to consistently be easier because I am doing it on a more consistent basis. One of his points in his blog was to set some Powerful "Unreasonable" Goals. I like this, because while I have a couple of half marathons on the calendar, this gives me some really large goals to work towards without having a deadline or an obligation on my already ridiculously full calendar.
I've always been very goal oriented, so that's what I am going to do:
- Run a sub 2 hour Half Marathon. I feel like realistically, this is not that far fetched of a goal. It isn't going to happen overnight, and it isn't going to happen this year, but overtime, this should be something I can easily achieve with the right training. My first Half in 2012 was 2:33:47. My second Half in 2014 was 2:21:01. This improvement came only with consistency and smarter training, without even really trying to get faster. Minimal speed work drills, but a vast improvement. With two more half marathons already planned (November of this year and March of next year), I feel like I am on my way to getting that goal.
- Run a Half Marathon solo. This is back to the making myself run on my own thing. I've already proven to myself that physically and mentally I can run 13.1 miles (twice!). Now I need to figure out how to do it by myself, with no one else coaching me or distracting me. And it's important: what if I am running and my training partner can't make it for some reason? Was all the training for nothing? I need to know how to push through it, and mentally, the challenge is important to me.
- Run a Marathon. That's right. All 26.2 miles, at least once. Maybe in a couple of years.
- Make yoga a daily, integral part of my life. I never liked yoga in the past, because it always hurt me. I have never been particularly flexible (hips/hamstrings especially) and I have weak wrists. I always ended up in super challenging yoga classes, and it frustrated me. The frustration hindered any chance I had to reap the benefits associated with the practice. This year I rediscovered Bikram. I love it. However, it is extremely expensive and not very conducive to the student budget. I am determined to get past my struggles with other yoga practices and find a way to incorporate even basic yoga into my daily routine, to help de-stress and take a moment out of my day just for me. I'm starting tomorrow with a 30 Day Yoga Challenge to see if this can help get the ball rolling.
- Rid myself of tension migraines and constant mystery stomach pain. One day, I'll figure this one out. :/
- Last one: Look like this running in a sports bra. :)